Think China 2014: From the Deep East to the Far East.

On July 5th, 2014 a group of 14 African American men departed the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) , en route to a 14 day stay in China.
These young men went from Deep East Oakland to the Far East with one goal:

To change the world… and the world’s perspective of them.

Think China 2014
                      The Forbidden City

The young men, five undergraduate students and nine high school students, were accompanied by three chaperones (I was one of them). This method of mentorship was designed by Ms. Regina Jackson, CEO of EOYDC (and a chaperone on the trip as well), as a part of her organization’s Brotherhood Across America- youth led college mentoring model.

The college students, all STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors, were selected in order to provide linked learning opportunities, which would give exposure to career possibilities to the younger men. In addition, the brotherhood mentoring circles were aimed at building strong individual character, as well as the collective group identity– which is EOYDC’s tagline: “building character to build communities”.

Fittingly, the community’s character was a driving force in getting the young men to China.

Sponsored by local businesses, churches and organizations, the group– known as the Think China 2014 delegation, arrived in China with a world of support under their wings.

The voyage was a part of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which was signed by President Barack Obama earlier this year, as a part of the White House’s focus on education. At its heart, the trip was a great opportunity for a cross-cultural exchange, as well as a chance for the young men to develop core values for the White House Education Initiative.

Because of the weight of their responsibilities, the gentlemen were lead through a rigorous schedule of classes and site visits; interspersed with character/ team building activities and fine dinning in China.

Think China 2014
Think China 2014: in the classroom

The young men saw Buddhist Temples in Hangzhou and department stores in Shanghai. They visited the Great Wall of China and the Xixi Wetland nature reserve. They went to automotive plants, made dumplings, learned Mandarin, studied the Chin Dynasty, talked modern politics, and even found time to eat KFC AND Peeking Duck (not at the same time)
… And of course, they drank lots of tea and ate plenty of rice.

 

All of the young men journaled throughout the course of the trip, as was a requirement. Everyday, a different young man who be held responsible for submitting a journal for publication through EOYDC’s website.

While the young men enjoyed the trip and blogged about it, I stood back and took it all in– through my camera lens… Here are just a few of the many moments I captured while we were in China.

Enjoy.

 


 

OG Told Me: Essay About The Photo Essay.

One time, an OG Told Me: “We’re not getting older, we’re getting better.”

It made me think…

In life, there is beauty in growing old, why would I want to die young?

In America, why are we glorifying young death and degrading becoming an elder?

In Black America, If they don’t have fathers- where are they getting guidance about manhood from?

In manhood … WAIT … how did I get here?

… answer…

The 1st Entry: "My homework ate my dog."- Dick Gregory.
The 1st Entry: "My homework ate my dog."- Dick Gregory.

At 24, I find myself in this strange world called, “manhood”, you might have heard of it… but … not all of my homies made it, some of them never even heard of it.

So, once again I ask: How did I make it to manhood?

As a young man growing up in Oakland, Ca … I followed the OG’s. Religiously.

Their way of talking, thinking, breathing, and blinking… I studied that. Vigorously.

As an 80’s baby, growing up in urban America, surprisingly enough: I wasn’t the only one without a father. Eight of my friends were fatherless too. In turn, we came together as a brotherhood; a fraternal support group. This is sometimes called a gang, a posse, or a clique… na, we were just boys becoming men.

We would pick-up small insight into manhood ( i.e. ideas on approaching women, how to make money double, or even something as essential as: how to fight); we would bring that back to the boys and share the newly acquired knowledge.

From this, I quilted together my concept of manhood.

Through this photo essay, I wanted to recreate that quilt; and show the world my version going from boyhood to manhood.

I call it: OG Told Me.

The project takes the phenomenon that I’ve encountered throughout the process of growing up, and documents it- so now babies of the millennium can find concepts about manhood where they hang out: the internet.

Detroit bus driver Barry Ray told me a story about two gas station owners beefing over gas prices … until one owner killed the other. Over pennies.
Detroit bus driver Barry Ray told me a story about two gas station owners beefing over gas prices … until one owner killed the other. Over pennies.

A basic photo essay: head shots of elder Black men, with the addition of clever-wisdom laced quotes. This photo essay is not just documenting elders, no-it’s bridging the gap between generations. It’s giving young men an idea of what they might look like at a later date, and it’s … giving me insight to the problems that plague the black community.

Unexpectedly so.

I found a number of the issues that plague Black men in society through my OG told Me project:

– Lack of accountability.

– Communication issues.

– Self destruction.

– Hate.

– Total disregard for another man’s dream…

– Lack of critical thinking.

– Stubbornness.

– Idle time.

Through this same project, I also found some of the blessings that are found in Black men in society…

– Creativity.

– Wisdom.

– Eldership.

– Sincerity.

– Love.

– Deep beliefs.

– Kinship.

– A way of life that is unobserved by others- yet seen everyday: the invisible man.

-The natural occurrence of a rights of passage in the Black community.

“Ethiopian proverb: When spider webs unite- they can tie up a lion!” - Joe Brooks, VP Policy Link & An old Black man… Been there. Done that. What’s new?
“Ethiopian proverb: When spider webs unite- they can tie up a lion!” - Joe Brooks, VP Policy Link & An old Black man… Been there. Done that. What’s new?

The biggest conundrum I found myself facing during this year-long project: Finding the purpose of life…

All around the world people are living for two things: to get older and to get smarter.

This is survival. Basic survival.

However, where I grew up, people are living for two things: to get money and … to get money.

In result, our illusionary pursuit of money results not in getting older and getting smarter- no, it results in us dying young and dumb.

This is not survival. This is basic.

The aging process should be appreciated. It’s the beauty of life.

Raymond Bellinger, War vet from New Orleans who sits at the same bus stop all day. When asked about the greatest lessons ever learned, he recited the Lord’s Prayer. word for word.
Raymond Bellinger, War vet from New Orleans who sits at the same bus stop all day. When asked about the greatest lessons ever learned, he recited the Lord’s Prayer. word for word.

I haven’t made it all the way-I’m still growing, learning, aging- or as the OG told me, “getting better.”

And I’m enjoying every step of the way.

… And that is why I created this photo essay.

Now the question remains:

what exactly were those lessons that I was taught as I was growing from a boy to a man?

Book coming soon

Invisible Men.

This radio broadcast originally aired on November 10th, 2011 on KQED

http://www.kqed.org/assets/flash/kqedplayer.swf

Invisible Men

Youth Radio’s Pendarvis Harshaw tries to keep black high school students from dropping out.

Pendarvis Harshaw
Pendarvis Harshaw

By Pendarvis Harshaw

The phrase “I don’t give an F-Bomb” resonates throughout high school hallways every day, especially in Oakland public schools. Which begs the question: how do you get students to actually give a flying F-bomb?

The numbers show that young black men drop out of school at higher rates, and are more likely to be incarcerated than other groups. Earlier this year I worked as an educator in the Oakland schools, in a pilot program designed to prevent young black men from dropping out. My students, all freshmen in high school, were in my class because of discipline issues, low attendance, or academic shortcomings. We called our class the Young Lion’s Lair.

To maintain focus, we did pushups. We did wall sits. We did sets of 20 jumping jacks. And everyone had to stop at the same time, or else we’d do it again.

At the start of class, we’d toss around a tennis ball and review the prior day’s lesson. And at the end of class we’d toss around that same ball and review what we learned that day.

We discussed a holistic approach to manhood. It was protocol for each young man to stand whenever he spoke. And when they spoke out of turn, it was mandatory that they say “I apologize.” I asked them not to say “I’m sorry,” because they weren’t sorry young men.

Attendance shot up. Discipline issues decreased. Their grades didn’t change during the semester I worked with them, but I could tell they were learning. Everyday there’d be a moment when one of my students would have a tiny breakthrough and I’d exclaim “hot damn.” It was equivalent to getting a star in kindergarten, and it was a constant reminder that we were progressing.

One day I asked my students to read aloud from Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.” They were reluctant to read in front of their peers, but eventually one student began… “I am an invisible man.”

Student after student read with increasing excitement. They were into it, and pleaded with me to bring in additional chapters. It was as if Ellison was narrating their lives. “I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind.”

With a Perspective, I’m Pendarvis Harshaw.

… sneak peak at this book I’ve been writing…

1 page out of one of my 31 notebooks...

I will write this book.

It’s a story of a lost young man, growing-up and looking to his elders for guidance… well, he actually looked to women, cars, and money- but, it just so happened that his elders had the women, the cars, and the money; plus wisdom of how to obtain these things.

The elders would drop wisdom rapped in words so profound that the young man couldn’t help but to write them down…And as a young rapper growing up in inner-city America, he’d quote these elders in his lyrics. But he’d soon find that this process of taking the wisdom from the elders and applying it to his life was more profound than any rap song. Deeper than poetry. and too big for newspaper headlines.

It’s not just about this one young man in America. It’s a universal concept:

Learn from elders. Teach the youth.

It is culture. It is religion. It is the way of life…

It is human nature to want to grow old and gain wisdom as you do so.

Only thing is… out here… We don’t all get to grow old.. and even fewer of us value wisdom…and on top of that…we don’t call them elders… we call them OG’s.

I will write this book.

Afterall, it’s my story.

Block Reportin’- JR Valrey

JR Valrey is a renown international journalist who, for years has been focused on producing media that sheds light on the social issues of the oppressed; he has recently published a book by the name of Block Reportin’.

 

The book is a compilation of over 30 interviews Valrey has conducted with individuals from all walks of life:
Paul Mooney, Cynthia McKinney, Mumia Abu Jamal, Freeway Ricky Ross, Mos Def, and Gil Scott Heron to name a few.

The book opens with an interview with one-time East Oakland drug kingpin Lil D, who is now incarcerated. The interview gives a modest peak into the life of Lil D: his past, his current state, and what he plans to do upon being released.
The first interview was just a taste for the pallet.The second interview was the hook…

Malcolm Shabazz, grandson and first male decedent of Malcolm X spoke to JR about the pressures of baring his grandfather’s name at a young age, the incident where a young Malcolm Shabazz lit a fire to a house that would burn down and take the life of his grandmother- Betty Shabazz, and the growth Malcolm Shabazz has experienced since that time.

His book, Block Reportin’ can be found at Marcus Books, Revolution Books, and a in your neighborhood as JR takes his book on tour… block to block.

I would like to publically salute JR Valrey for his work, dedication, and growth.

Much respect.

Get Active!

 

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing about a thousand miles an hour on my bike, got to my destination, looked down, and I’ll be damned: I had ripped my tie!

This is when I realized, that I was indeed getting active… maybe even too active.

I’ve painted the entire East Bay. I’ve ridden the bike to meetings, to classes I was teaching, and to the errands in-between…

There is a Buddhist saying: “the man who doesn’t have 2 minutes to meditate needs two hours.”

Well, I finally got the time to meditate. My bike got stolen earlier today. I last saw it as I locked it up, on the corner of 19th and Valencia in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco. I assume someone cut the bolt, and made away with my orange and silver Schwinn. I hope it serves whoever stole it well, after all, gas is 4.29 a gallon for the unleaded 87 octane in the City.

… so now I’m chilling on the couch.

Great! A little downtime to kick my feet up, properly enjoy this rainy Saturday , and even sneak in a couple March Madness matches… you know, chillin.

Well, this funny thing happens when I have downtime… I start reminiscing… usually about business, friends, the hood, philosophy… and women.

This time, all I could think about was my bike: I miss my bike, that was like my best friend for the past 3 months…

 

The shadow of a big head kid, rocking some headphones, while working on his bike in the backyard.
The shadow of a big head kid, rocking some headphones, while working on his bike in the backyard.

 

 

 

… Picture this …

One day, I showed up to Oakland Tech to teach a class full of boys with a wind breaker coat soaked from rain… took it off, only to reveal that my t-shirt had pitt stains from sweating.

 

…picture this…

Once day, I rode my bike through San Francisco, I was coming from editing a video and heading to a jam session at a warehouse on the docks. The rain was slightly under monsoon status. The wind was just under typhoon status. And all I wanted to do: get to pier 38. I didn’t know exactly where pier 38 was, but I knew where pier 39 was: that’s the carnival-esque tourist attraction, everyone knows where pier 39 is! … No one ever told me that pier 38 isn’t next to pier 39. No- it’s on the completely opposite side of the Embarcadero, because the docks are separated by evens and odds. Therefore, I had to ride all the way back to  pier 3, pier one, … and then pier 2 , pier 4, and so on…. I arrived to pier 38. soaked. I stayed long enough to notice that this “warehouse” party was essentially on the docks. And I was wet… this sucked.

As the wind whistled through the gaps in the warehouse walls, I made the move back to the BART Station. When I got to the BART Station, my clothes and hands were so wet and cold, it took 15 minutes to get the fare machine to accept my soggy bills.

… picture this…

Just last Saturday, March 12, 2011- after an evening of hanging out with a couple of lady friends, I hoped on my bike and rode a couple of laps around downtown Oakland. I bumped into fellow journalist Reginald James, and we talked briefly. It was 11:15pm when a lady interrupted us to ask for the time, we simultaneously pointed to the clock tower atop of the old Tribune building; and then we laughed. I shook Reggie’s hand on 12th and Broadway,  and then like: pewn! I shot out to East Oakland to my sister’s house, cause I had promised my niece and nephew that I would spend the night…by the time I arrived they would be asleep, but when they awoke, I told them about what happened to me during my bike ride to their house…

At approximately midnight, on a corner in an East Oakland neighborhood, I found $203 dollars in loose bills.

As I approached the money, I was so suspect looking   way for cops, drug dealers, pimps, Mexicans… No telling whose money this was… It was splattered as if it was previously stacked on the top of someone’s car- and they just pulled off… leaving the money all over this shady corner…

I hoped on the dough like kids on a piñata! gathering the large bills first: 20’s and 10’s only…stuffing them into my hood as I straddled my bike. Picking up an occasional five here and there…I grabbed what I could, and then I pulled away… My adrenaline was pumping… And then I looked back, there were 36 One dollar bills left on the ground. How do I know that there were 36? Because I went back! threw my bike down and picked up every bill.

I told my niece and nephew that story the following morning, and then gave em each a dollar and took them, along with my sister, to breakfast.

….

I took plenty of pictures while on my bike, but the most memorable times couldn’t be captured on camera.

There were other great stories during rides… I saw plenty of faces and places… I even created a photography folder on facebook about it.

I think it’s fitting that I lost my bike on the Saturday March 19th, 2011 … the day of the super moon! … If nothing else, the amazing moon serves as a scape goat for extracurricular energy. And tomorrow, when the super moon is replaced by the morning sun, it will be officially the start of Spring. The last photo I took of my bike was just yesterday at Cal Berkeley… where I found a bunch of human made cocoons… And everyone knows butterflies come out of the cocoon at the start of the Spring…

the last photo.

 

 

They got my bike, now I can’t ride; so I guess it’s time to fly….Get active!

 

peace.

How Do You Teach: to Give a Fuck?

How do you teach:
to give a Fuck? 

It’s not your normal class. I’m not your normal teacher. And I don’t teach in the normal method… ‘Cause they don’t learn in the normal method.

The Lion’s Lair class is a new initiative taken on by Oakland Unified School District in effort to do something about the failure rates of Black men in high school. 20 Young African American men have been selected to the Lions Lair at each of the following schools: Oakland Tech, Oakland High, and Skyline.

I teach the class at Oakland Tech; a midday class which meets in a room where pictures of Michael Jordan and Einstein adorn the walls.

The class is categorized as a Life Skills class which fulfills the gentleman’s elective requirement; true to it’s name, the class teaches life skills… in the lion’s lair.

At any given time you might walk in and find the young men in push-up position, while reciting their spelling words. Or you might find them on the edge of their desks discussing the relationship between Los Angeles’ 1990’s Crips and Bloods to Oakland’s current Gang Injunction program.
In 1992, the year the Crips and Bloods called a truce, the young men in my class were not yet born. But they know about the Bloods and Crips. They watch the urban crime biography series, American Gangster. They’ve never taken a note- but they know Stanley “Tookie” Williams and Monster Kody Scott …

… They learned those stories without taking note- but they can’t learn in school given notebooks and pencils?
…cause when it comes to that gangster shit: they give a fuck.

The class’ curriculum simply breaks down into four areas: self, community, world, and action. The fist four weeks, we focused on the simple things: who are you? Where are you from? where are you going (in life)?… and how are WE going to get there?

We developed calls and responses, laws for the class, and of course… a handshake.
We wrote poems that showed how we identify with certain animals and then performed them.

We’ve done three workshops thus far:

1. Brother Jesus El came in after I showed a video of him to the class. He addressed the video, which was about his trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and then returning to West Oakland to share his experiences; this exemplified the Hero’s journey. He then told the youth about his much larger hero’s journey- his coming of age experience, and how he grew up in the same streets they run through… and now he’s traveling the world doing what he loves.

2. Brother John Brumfield stopped by and did a presentation on the origins of Africans and what we have accomplished over the ages. The photos and facts were mind blowing, it showed through the young men’s engagement.  He ended on a story about Tupac Shakur; a firsthand account of Tupac that left the young men in awe.

3. Brother Saleem Shakir came through and did a presentation on the “Nigger experienced”, in which he asked the class are there any Niggas/ Niggers in here? About 4 out of the then 17 students raised their hands… some did so unsure of the premise of the question. He then proceeded to show the young men video clips of Kunta Kente getting whipped in the movie Roots, pictures of enslaved individuals who had been brutally whipped, and audio of the Last Poets “Die Nigger, Die”. At the end of the class, they weren’t completely convinced about not using the word “nigga” anymore, but they were all upset about how the “niggers” in the video clips were treated.

They gave a fuck about being treated like “Niggers” … but they didn’t give a fuck about being called “nigga” ?

… they almost gave a fuck …

Tuesday I submitted my first grades, the grading criteria was simple: attendance/ behavior, participation, and a pop-quiz.

The final assignment was to be a poem, a simple written statement about who they are. I even gave them a prompt, suggesting that they compare themselves to an animal.

Oh! you should of seen them: “I’m a bear”… “I’m a Lion!” …”I’m this”… “I’m that”…  and then when I asked them to write it, their response: “I’m not a writer”. Not all of them, some of the self proclaimed rappers flourished, some of the quiet brother let out lion-like roar with an eloquent portrayal of who they are at this stage in their lives. And some didn’t do the assignment whatsoever.

I was disgusted.
The easiest assignment in the world. I gave them multiple opportunities. I shook their hand and made a pact… they disrespected that.
I was disgusted.

…in what other classes do you get the chance to to turn in/ perform a poem/ rap as a homework assignment?…

If you can SAY who/ what you are- how could you not merely sit down and write exactly what you said? you are literature. use it!

…They just didn’t give a fuck…

A slew of questions came to my mind

I had been covertly trying to figure this out, but I have to throw this question on the the table : why… why don’t you give a fuck? what comes over you when you don’t give a fuck?…
what is the thought behind not giving a fuck?…
why destroy yourself when you don’t give a fuck?
what do you give a fuck about?
your mother gives a fuck about you- do you give a fuck about her? do you give a fuck about yourself?
do you see the consequences of not giving a fuck?
do you see the relationship between not giving a fuck about yourself- not giving a fuck about school – not giving a fuck about your community- all culminate to you repeating the cycle of Black people being in a fucked up position?

…On Tuesday night I brought my question to a group of elders…

I had scheduled Coffee with Baba Arnold Perkins in order to take a photo for my “OG Told Me” Photo Essay project. I then had a meeting scheduled with Cheo Tyehimba, about a fellowship I had received. The fellowship requires me to produce 4 stories over the next 4 months on Black men who are “game changers” in my society.

they both left me with two applicable quotes…

“…And then you look at their environment and you understand; their behavior and attitude is directly applicable.”- Baba Perkins

“…go from not caring, to not knowing.”- Cheo T.

I brought the list of questions and quotes to the minimum day shortened class on Wednesday. I teach by throwing a tennis ball around as a method of class control. The tennis ball works well with the boyish energy in the classroom, after all- in a classroom with no girls and no snacks, throwing a ball around is my only option to maintain a functional environment.

I asked them straight up:  “what does it take, to make you all give a fuck?”

the answers varied along with the personalities in the classroom. Some outwardly didn’t give a fuck and some don’t give a fuck quietly… we concluded that both can be detrimental to society and self.

At then end of the day, I’m still searching… I know I can’t teach them anything, I have to evoke knowledge from within them. And when this works, its the greatest feeling in the world. But when it doesn’t- I feel as if I am trying to climb a brick wall with no arms.

So my question remains…

how do I teach : to give a fuck?

 

JR Valrey’s “Operation Small Axe” Documentary screens in D.C.

Bob Marley once sang, “So If  you are the Big tree, then we are the small axe “; and the environment that was Oakland, California during the filming of JR

Operation Small Axe

Valrey’s “Operation Small Axe” embodied Marley’s lyrical analogy.

JR Valrey screened his “Operation Small Axe” documentary at Sankofa cafe in Washington D.C. October 14th 2010.

The documentary highlighted incidents of police brutality, namely the Oscar Grant and the Lovelle Mixon cases. Valrey, like many others who are familiar with both Grant’s and Mixon’s cases, held them in comparison. The fact that these incidents of violence between citizens and police happened in the same city, just blocks apart; and in the same year, just months apart makes for an automatic connection.

The documentary delved much further than the surface connection between Mixon and Grant, and touched on the history of police brutality, as well as the history of community activism, and even shed light on what Oakland was doing as a community in the wake of these turbulent times.

JR then spoke about the making of the documentary, his work with the prisoners of conscious committee (POCC), as well as his job as what I would call a “trench journalist”. He is. He is in the battle fields, on the front line, and shaking things up. Maybe not in the most conventional manner, but it will take some unconventional methods to get out us out of this convenient position of fearing police that serve our neighborhoods.

While in DC, he was accompanied by Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X. After Valrey closed his speech about “Operation Small Axe”, Shabazz spoke to the crowd about his life since being released from prison for the arson of his grandmother’s house. He spoke of his current interest and actions; noting that he is sincerely dedicated to learning, and has recently returned from a trip to the Middle East.

JR Valrey and Malcolm Shabazz

The standing room only sized crowd in Sankofa’s book store portion of the quaint cafe received both Valrey and Shabazz with opened arms and and raised hands, as many people (mostly college students) were inspired to get involved after the presenters concluded.

A lingering thought in my mind was the connection between Malcolm Shabazz speaking, and JR connecting Oscar Grant and Lovelle Mixon incidents as a case of “the chickens coming home to roost”, as Malcolm X once said.

JR Valrey is continuing to travel the United States, screening his documentary, and starting up moving conversations along the way. For more information, visit his website http://blockreportradio.com/

Oscar Grant’s Family at Howard University

Uncle Bobby speaks of his nephew Oscar Grant's passing, and how it relates to concepts discussed in the "Willie Lynch Letter".

Thursday, September 16th 2010- Washington DC’s Howard University’s freshman dormitory, Charles R. Drew Hall played host to the “People vs. Police” panel discussion about police brutality and what it has done to our community.  The case of Oscar Grant in Oakland, Ca served as the central focus of the discussion, as the Howard University community opened it’s doors to Oscar Grant’s uncle Cephus Johnson and vocal leader and Oscar Grant supporter Minister Keith Muhammad.

Minister Keith Muhammad re-accounting the entire Oscar Grant situation.

50-60 students poured into the freshman dormitory lounge and attentively listened as Minister Muhammad eloquently recapped the happenings concerning Oscar Grant; dating back to the fatal morning of New Years 2009. He touched on the candle light vigils, the uprisings by Oakland citizens, and the conduct of the elected officials in our community .  He concluded in bringing this case home: “this happened to Oscar Grant yesterday, and could happen to any one of us tomorrow”.

After a round of applause for the Minister’s oral chronological recap of the Grant case, Minister Muhammad brought forth Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson  to a warm applause as well.

Uncle Bobby spoke of the connection between Oscar Grant’s case and the historical document known as the Willie Lynch letter. He highlighted the portion of the letter that spoke of a slave owner beating a male slave in front of other male slaves so as to make an example out of him. This is what oscar Grant’s death was… an example. On tape for the world to see.

Uncle Bobby did his best to speak progressively about the matter; highlighting the upcoming dates of October 23rd and November 5th. On October 23rd the workers at the port of Oakland will strike in support of Oscar Grant’s cause. The longshoremen  have historically supported communities that have been affected by police brutality, as they too have had a member of their community fall victim due to police brutality. And November 5th is the date that the sentencing for this trial is set.

Uncle Bobby concluded in stating that cases such as the Oscar Grant Case, and nameless other cases that have been caught on tape, need to be used as evidence in the court of law as a tool to combat malpractices by the officers of our communities.

The meeting ended with the attendees compiling an email list for individuals who were interested in writing a letter to the judge in the Oscar Grant case.

As I left and reflected on the night that was, I was a bit preturbed that the turnout was only 50-60 people strong. But,  as the fact that we sat and watched a landmark case that deals with the current state of society on so many levels, race, class, and technology… I realized our success: a mixed class of young African-American students just sat in a room- and hardly a finger texted or tweeted while the guest speakers presented.

Uncle Bobby, Minister Muhammed, and myself all hoped to spread the word about combating police brutality in the lower income communities, and at Howard University, on this night the word was received.